30 November 1957 – Capt Benny Lacombe is killed when he unsuccessfully attempts to bail out of Lockheed U-2A, 56-6704, Article 371, 13 miles SE of Laughlin AFB. Ejection seats had not yet been fitted to U-2s at this point. The history of the U-2 program is fraught with fatalities and crashes. “CIA pilots Wilburn S.
Sylvere Hilaire Coussement
Sylvere, or “Cous” as he was known to his friends, was an entrepreneur and cultured individual with an enormous sense of humor and a wonderful smile. He was born in Roubaix, France. His family immigrated to this country in 1941 and settled in Detroit, Mich. where his father had a dental abrasives company.
Cous graduated with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of Detroit (1964) and received an Ed.S. degree in Educational Research (statistics) from the University of Alabama (1996) as well as a Ph.D. degree in Mass Communications, University of Alabama, in 1999. He joined the United States Air Force in 1955 as an aviation cadet and from 1956-1959, was based at Chaumont, France Air Base serving as a flight leader, instructor pilot, and engineering test pilot.
From 1959 to 1972, he served in the Michigan and Maryland Air National Guards. His total years of military service spanned a 24 year period, with 16 years in the USAF and 8 years in the Alabama Air National Guard.